Share Your Carolina Band Story

Forever to Thee

“The Carolina Band is the heart and soul of the University.  There is nothing more sacred in college life than the thousands of hours of artistic, physical, and spirited commitment over 300 young people devoted to their prideful home.  May this band, and all the millions who encounter it and love it, always remind us of the greatness and magic that is all things Gamecock Carolina students.  Forever to thee my fellow musicians!”

Tayloe Harding

Dean, School of Music

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  • All
  • 1980s
  • 1990s
  • 2000s
  • 2010s

The Carolina Band gave me some of my best college memories…ESPN Gameday on the Horseshoe, trips to great bowl games (Outback), trips to some not so great bowl games (PapaJohns.com), going to Epcot when we were told to go to Magic Kingdom, the atmosphere of Williams-Brice from the field – looking over my shoulder to see Cocky’s 2001 debut, making friends in the Sousa section, being an Angry Bird in the halftime show, and the many wonderful rides on Bus 4. The alma mater has become a lullaby to my 10-month-old baby girl and I can’t wait to take her to her first Carolina Band event – I mean football game – this fall. What I would give to go back and relive those last few years as part of the Carolina Colorguard.

Ashleigh’s Livin’ on a Prayer + Diva

Jordan remembering the order for Earth, Wind, and Fire every dang time

At my last halftime show, Catherine (thankfully) yelling at me to cut out of pregame early since I got in the moment and just kept going

Guard winning the box-8 march off contest at band camp / practicing it to Call Me Maybe

Trains interrupting practice / flooded field

Bus driver, bus driver, tell us your name!

Hey you, say, “Go Cocks!”

And many, many more…

Cheers to 100 years!!

Alexandria Cherry
2009-2013

It’s difficult for me to put into words just how much the Carolina Band means to me. I first saw the Carolina Band at the Camden Marching Band Contest in 1973 or 1974 as a high school student. When I went to Clemson in the fall of 1975, I soon realized that I wanted to be a band director, and there was only one place to go. I transferred the next semester, just in time to meet Jim Copenhaver when he joined the faculty in the fall of 1976. My life would never be the same.

Cope’s mission was to teach us how to teach, and it all began with a love for music, love and respect for each other, and a meticulous method of excellence. Many other faculty members and students made my time with the Carolina Band rewarding and unforgettable. After graduating in 1980, I taught for two years and then returned as a Graduate Assistant. Cope became not only my mentor, but my friend as well. I was blessed to learn from Bill Moody, Andy Gowan, Doug Graham, GB Lane, Robert Pruzin, Keith Amstutz, Dick Goodwin, and Jim Hall. My best friends like Dan Ward, Steve Moore, Charlie Polk, Lessie (Adickes) Polk, David Allison, Ken Pouncey, and others were people that I met in the Band Hall on South Main or McMaster. Then after graduation, many, many other friends were made because of the Carolina Band, and are still friends today.

My favorite memories include hitting the company front in “America the Beautiful”, the roar of the crowd during the “Fight Song”, our very best show as a G.A. that began with “Krypton Fanfare” and fire extinguishers, band trips, late-night drill-writing in Cope’s office, the overwhelming sense of pride that we all shared, and being on the field during Pre-Game beside Kelsey, my daughter, as she proudly wore her Carolina Band uniform at the 2015 Homecoming Game.

My sincere thanks go to all of the directors and staff that carry on the tradition. Forever To Thee Carolina Band!

Vince Clayton
1976-80; 1982-84

I have been going to Carolina games for as long as I can remember. My favorite part (besides winning of course) was the band. As I grew, I watched it grow as well. I remember always telling my parents that I will be on that field one day. With hard work, dedication and guidance I achieved that goal. I will always remember my very first game. I played the sousaphone and was on the front sideline all four years for pregame and it was exhilarating each and every time. The football games, bowl trips and final fours are just a portion of my amazing experience. The relationships and friendships I’ve made are ones that will last a lifetime. I am forever grateful and thankful for this organization. I hope future gamecocks have as great of an experience as I’ve had. So cheers to 100 years! Congratulations! Go Cocks!

Jonathan Garcia
2014-2017
Williams Brice Stadium with Carolina Band on field

I have the Carolina Band to thank for all of my amazing friends I have today and for my wonderful fiancé. I would never trade my experience with the Mighty Sound of the Southeast for anything in the world. My favorite college memories were either at Williams Brice or with my band sisters and brothers of Tau Beta Sigma and Kappa Kappa Psi. Happy 100th, Carolina Band! Forever to thee!!

Samantha Rudolph
2012-2015
graduate holding hand in spurs up on band field

Congratulations Carolina Band on your Centennial Season. I am forever thankful for the experiences had and memories made with friends that will last a lifetime. I will forever cherish 5 AM call times, 6 AM Grid Iron (that woke up Bates House), 64 down the field, Pre-Game, and 100+ degree band camps. Thank you for molding me into who I am, and showing me how hard work and dedication pays off. I can’t wait to see how the program evolves for the years to come.

#5678 #werkshinebright

Natasha Molina
2015-2019

Congratulations Carolina Band on 100 yrs. of excellence! I’m proud to have been affiliated with you as your photographer for nine years. I not only got to enjoy the “Mighty Sound of the Southeast” but also had the privilege of getting to know so many of you. Blessings on all of you. Go Gamecocks!

Dave Rogers
2006-2015

So many life changing memories. I came to USC in 1984 from Fort Mill slightly turned off by marching band. But things quickly changed. Great mentor moments from Jim Copenhaver, Andy Gowan, Bob Pruzin, Doug Graham, Connie Lane, Donald Portnoy, and yes, Telina West during my 5 years in Columbia about being the best musician AND person I could be. All lessons I took with my through 22 years in the Air Force Band.

But there were four moments, that happened every year with the Carolina Band which are burned in my memory forever.

1) Standing on the tower or playing in the FULL ensemble the first time Krypton Fanfare sounded during Band Camp.

2) The first pregame show of the year with Pat Wylie’s immortal words “Keep your seats, Ladies and Gentlemen. For now, we present the musical magic of the Carolina Band!”

3) Being either in formation or as part of the Band Staff every time the 2001 Fanfare was played in the stadium and being in the MIDDLE of the roar of nearly 80,000 Gamecock fans.

4) Singing the Alma Mater after every practice and after every game. Enough to make the lump in my throat feel like a Washington Apple.

Again, so many memories, life-changing moments and friends made. We Hail Thee, Carolina!

#forevertothee
#carolinaband
#uscschoolofmusic

Chuck Little
1984-1989

Happy 100th birthday to the Carolina Band! When I think back on all the memories it almost becomes overwhelming. Thanks to the Band, I met my wife as well as lifelong friends. Through good times and bad, the Carolina Band has always been there. We are a family with bonds that transcend blood relations and even time. For the past 11 years, I’ve also had the honor of serving as the ‘Voice of the Carolina Band’ and seeing new generations of musicians join our ever increasing family. The energy and spirit that they bring to Williams-Brice and the University is simply amazing. They truly are the heart and soul of Gamecocks everywhere. Congratulations on a century of musicial magic! #ForevertoThee

Kirk Randazzo
1990-1994

I was a member of the USC Marching Band 1980-1981 after six years in band at Hartsville High (picture). I heard the Carolina Band for the first time at a high school band contest at Spring Valley High and decided I would tryout when I got my admission letter. Because of my Work-Study job in the Band Hall, Mr. Copenhaver knew my name. Whenever anyone in our trombone section would get out of alignment in rehearsals, he would call out my name over the PA. I’ll never forget the terrifying fear of turning the wrong way as the Carolina Band took the field for my first Pregame in front of over 75,000 fans. I supported the George Rogers Heisman Trophy run, played for the unveiling of Cocky, helped start the Space Odyssey 2000 intro tradition, and met my wife of 34 years (Carla McCollom – Coquette ‘81) while on the Carolina Band. ??

Norris Mitchell
1980 - 1981

Congratulations to our Carolina Band family for 100 years of musical artistry and Gamecock spirit! As we all know, being a Gamecock fan through good times and bad can be a challenging experience; it can be even tougher when you’re part of a group like the Carolina Band that is among the first to show up at games and the very last to leave. But the rewards make it all worth it — making lifetime friends who understand what it’s like to love performing music, celebrating the big wins together, traveling to away games and bowls, mastering multiple new halftime shows every season, and being part of a group that represents our beloved university and promotes musical excellence far beyond South Carolina’s borders. I will always be proud to be an alumna of the Carolina Band.

Thank you to the UofSC band directors and staff and the School of Music administration who have fought so hard over the years to make sure our band had the resources needed to succeed. I am especially grateful for Professor James K. Copenhaver, who made me reconsider my decision to attend Northwestern University, convincing me that South Carolina was where I belonged instead. (He was right. Again.) His very generous $1 million School of Music donation and his 34 years of service to Carolina show just how devoted he was to our students and our university, and to the band program’s long-term success. Thank you, too, to Dr. Cormac Cannon, Dr. Jay Jacobs, Alex Fife, and the entire Centennial Committee for all of their work to make sure we recognize and celebrate this major milestone.

Happy 100th, Carolina Band! Here’s a health, Carolina; forever to thee!

Jennifer Jablonski, Assistant Dean for Enrollment Management at the UofSC School of Music
1988-1992

Congratulations, Carolina Band, on 100 years of instilling the love of music in the University of South Carolina community!  As a drum major for The Mighty Sound of the Southeast from 2004-2007, the Carolina Band became my home and my family.  90% of my bridesmaids and my precious husband were all members of the band.  My love and admiration for this organization goes unmatched.  From conducting Amazing Grace to swaying in the tunnel to 2001, those memories will be cherished for a lifetime.  Forever to Thee.

Kaci Cotter
2003-2006

Congratulations to the Carolina Band on 100 years of hard work and success! I will remember my time with the band fondly and have made friendships that have lasted the test of time. I still get excited thinking about the pregame show and will always miss the thrill of half time shows and performing in the stands for the fans. My time in the Clarinet section and as Drum Major in 2001 was well spent and I would encourage any student to join the band if they have a chance. Cheers to 100 more years and “Here’s a health, Carolina, forever to thee!”

Cory Thompson
1999-2001

Congratulations to the Carolina Band on 100 years of service. Being in Carolina Band was a true blessing and gave me friends for a lifetime. I have three favorite memories. First was the 2016 Fall Festival where the Sousaphones played our section cheer and brought the house down. The second memory is getting selected to be in the Blue Cross Blue Shield commercial for the 2018 football season (pictured). The final memory comes from the 2018 Volleyball Band where we played at a game on my birthday and the volleyball team sang to me and made me a birthday card. Memories I will cherish for a lifetime!

Dylan Dukes
2015-2018

I lived next door to the old band hall at USC and made some of my best college memories there. I loved everything about being a part of the Carolina Band, from the camaraderie, to the travel, to the smile it brought to Copenhaver’s face whenever I brought homemade brownies to band practice. As captain of the colorguard in 1987, 1988, and 1989 – back when we wore unbelievably matronly uniforms – I was so proud to march onto that field at Williams-Brice stadium. I couldn’t wait for Saturdays. I can still remember (and do!) the flag moves to the Carolina Fight Song.  Thank you to the Carolina Band for the joy you brought to my college years, and congratulations on 100 inspirational years!

Lorri Shealy Unumb
1986-89
Happy 100th Anniversary to my dear Carolina Band family!  For a century (A CENTURY!), you have warmly welcomed generations of students to campus, helped shape the lives of your members, and electrified athletic arenas across the US. I can proudly say that the best part of my tenure at UofSC was serving the Carolina Band, as a member of the trumpet section, a drum major, and Brother of the greatest chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi…ZETA CHI!  Thank you for maintaining and building upon the traditions that we hold dear, for being sterling ambassadors of our school and state, and for constantly raising the bar for collegiate athletic band culture and performance.  Your contributions make our alma mater stronger.  FOREVER to thee!
Quintus F. Wrighten, Jr., DMA
2002-05

Congratulations to the wonderful Carolina Band.  What a legacy!  My days in the Carolina band as a trumpet player and drum major were truly wonderful.  There was something magical about walking into Williams Brice with that wonderful old band rolling in behind me.  …and I will always remember the feeling of standing with my friends as we sang those words together, “We hail thee….”  I would do it all again if I could.  I am grateful to have been a part of something so good.  A wonderful tradition.  A wonderful sound.  From the bottom of my heart, “forever to thee.”

Matthew McCord
1991-94
Congratulations to the entire Carolina Band family on the Carolina Band’s 100th Anniversary! Carolina Band Alumni everywhere celebrate this milestone and “Sing thy High Praise!” My wife Leanne (Flag & Rifle ’82-’84) and I (Trumpet ’81 & ’82, Drum Major ’83 & ’84, Kappa Kappa Psi) were both Carolina Band Members in the early 1980’s and have really enjoyed watching the Carolina Band continue to evolve, grow and provide amazing, spirited entertainment at UofSC football games. Here’s to another 100 years of Carolina Band excellence!
Carolina Band, NOTHING COULD BE FINER!!
Ron Lordo
1981-84

Congratulations on 100 years of musical excellence!  The Carolina Band has provided the spirit at USC since 1920—reveling with fans in Gamecock victories, consoling them through the tough losses, and educating generations of students. On a personal level, the Carolina Band represents a foundational part of our family—we met as students on the band field, served as brothers and sisters in Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma, and later served on the equipment crew. We will never forget the feeling of standing in the tunnel formation for 2001 or the feeling of elation when the 5-peat against Clemson was sealed. Congrats again, Carolina Band, and here’s a health to the next 100 years!

Nick & Katie Annan
Nick 2004-08, Katie 2003-07

Congratulations to the University of South Carolina Bands for 100 years of proud tradition and excellence. It is always a pleasure to perform with the USC musicians and faculty.  The USC band program maintains a fabulously high standard of musicality, artistry and fun. 100 years of band music is a monumental and exciting USC milestone. And my oh my. That’s a lot of eighth notes.

Allen Vizzutti, Artist in Residence
2011-2014

Congratulations Carolina Band on your 100th Anniversary! When you join the band you become a part of 325+ person Gamecock family. My fondest memories of the Carolina Band are the game day experiences, the excitement of performing in front of 80,000+ fans, the pride of representing the Gamecocks and most of all the amazing friendships. I consider it a privilege to be a part of the Carolina Band Family. Go Gamecocks!

Brian Murrell
1983-85
There’s no sound like the Mighty Sound of the Southeast. My four years in the Carolina band were exhilarating and had the greatest impact on my time in college. This group of talented musicians has a rich history and amazing legacy at the University of South Carolina. I’m thankful I was able to be a small part of it—first on the drum line, then as a drum major and brother of Kappa Kappa Psi. For 100 years, the Carolina band has been going strong. Here’s to the next 100! Congratulations!
Kenneth Moton, ABC News Anchor/Correspondent
2000-2004

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Whether you're a past member of the Carolina Band, Pep Band, Symphonic Winds, Wind Ensemble or University Band or just a fan. You can leave a centennial congratulations message. Just fill out the form below. Photo is optional. 300 pixels x 300 pixels is preferred.

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Centennial Committee

Ken Corbett
Kaci Cotter
Alex Fife
Walter Graham
Brooke Hudson
Matt McCord
Gabriel McGee
Brian Murrell

Band Faculty: Cormac Cannon, Jay Jacobs and Quintus Wrighten